Barry Sheerman MP and Dr. Adam Read OWL Midlands Digital

OWL Midlands Digital paves a new path for waste and logistics operators

The team behind OWL hosted OWL Midlands Digital event, on 12 November, with over 100 attendees.

Keeping connected is a strong element of the waste, transport and logistic industry, which OWL (Optimised Waste and Logistics) bring together to develop genuinely integrated products and services. The team behind OWL decided to host the event online this year, because of the pandemic postponing any physical gathering.

The day was divided into Innovation Sessions, hosted by Dr. Adam Read, External Affairs Director, SUEZ Recycling & Recovery UK, representing CIWM England. OWL Partners including, Refuse Vehicle Solutions, Dennis Eagle, Mercedes-Benz Trucks, Hako Machines, CMS SupaTrak held Master Classes on specialist topics, including electric RCVs, safety systems, electric sweepers, fuel management systems, electromobility and many other advances in vehicle and waste technology.

‘I thoroughly enjoyed this online event, where the commitment of the speakers and the audience engagement made my life easy as the chair. We saw a vast array of innovations and exemplars and dealt with lots of real-time questions and insights. Thanks for asking me to be part of this excellent event,’ commented Dr. Adam Read.

Attendees were welcomed in the morning by the Chairman of the OWL Partnership, Barry Sheerman MP of Huddersfield. Jason Airey, Managing Director of CMS SupaTrak, updated attendees on the OWL Clean Air Project and the new Westminster Commission for Road Air Quality.

Other presenters included Glen Davies from AtoH Solutions who discussed tackling the impact of HGVs on cities, Russell Markstein from NRG Fleet Services and Electra Commercial Vehicles and Andy Graves from Dennis Eagle both discussed how the latest generation of eRCVs do not compromise on Diesel performance as well as how they are put through their paces in a rigorous testing regime.

One particular highlight that attracted the punters was the anticipated Innovation Session from Matt Ralfe, Innovation and Change Manager for Nottingham City Council. Matt told his story of the local authority’s journey to electrification, which is still ongoing.

In short, 142 of Nottingham’s 475 vehicles are now fully electric. That is 30% of the total fleet and 59% of the Council’s cars and vans are now EV. The transition has been rapid, and Nottingham had just two EVs four years.

Interesting ideas were also shared in the OWL Partner Master Classes. Kevin O’Sullivan, Sales Director at Thomas Group, gave an insightful ‘Fuel Optimisation’ Master Class on tackling ‘dirty diesel’. Stephen Strange, Head of UK Sales at CMS SupaTrak, presented on ‘improving your domestic waste round management’, describing the benefits of switching from a traditional paper-based domestic waste collection system, to the technology of JobTrak as a domestic waste solution. Grahame Neagus, Head of LCV for UK and Ireland, from Renault Trucks UK gave a thorough and in-depth analysis on ‘inclusion and growth for all’, assessing the impact on electromobility in terms of social impact and being a more inclusive fleet.

‘The OWL Midlands event was an ideal way in reaching out and discussing Electromobility with a new audience within the Waste sector and along with the other presentations. I am greatly looking forward to the next events and being a part of those too,’ commented Neagus.

CMS SupaTrak’s Jason Airey closed off the event with his presentation of telematics and duty-cycle anxiety.  He explained how the data measured from electric heavy goods vehicles can be used to manage efficient vehicle operation. The audience learnt about the limitations of operating these vehicles and what can be done to maximise duty cycles today and on in five years’ time.

Attendees from across the nation, and in some instances beyond, came to listen to these new solutions for an electric future. Many interesting questions were asked, contributing to the wider discussion on EVs and how fleets can fit into the cleaner tomorrow.

Ian Bourton, Head of Fleet Services for UBICO attended the online event. Ian stated that OWL Midlands was the best online conference he attended ever. ‘The virtual conference was well pitched at user level, the length of presentations was about right and the expertise of the presenters was first class. As well as this, I made a couple of new contacts at other Councils where we can also learn from their experiences. The technology worked well and was easy to participate in and ask questions. All together a well organised and informative event’